Fire Safety Services

Our Expertise

Alcumus is a member of BAFE and has a dedicated team of fire safety specialists. We deliver a bespoke fire risk management service, fully compliant with the Articles of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 

Our Fire Safety Consultants have over 30 years service experience at senior management level and are members of the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers and/or the Institute of Fire Engineers.

Because of their Fire Service background, experience, knowledge and skill, we are able to work closely with clients, Fire Services and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure the avoidance of enforcement action.

riskassessment

Fire Risk Assessment

A Fire Risk Assessment is a key factor to managerial compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

As from 1st October 2006 it is a legal requirement for every workplace to have a Fire Risk Assessment, while those employing five or more persons will have to be able to produce a formalised written Fire Risk Assessment using the applied risk profiling and fire safety management strategies detailed in British Standards.

A Fire Risk Assessment must be carried out if:
 

  • You are an employer, even if you have one employee

  • You are a landlord or managing agent in control of a building

  • You are responsible for managing the common-access areas of a block of flats, maisonettes or HMO (house in multiple occupation)

A Fire Risk Assessment assesses the fire risks, the protective and preventative measures and processes/procedures in force in premises against established standards. The assessment identifies necessary controlling measures to remove or reduce risk to an acceptable level and produces an action plan for compliance. Alcumus follows strict assessment protocols against applied enforcement criteria to identify and assess suitability of:
 

  • Fire risk profile

  • Fire detection systems

  • Fire exists, escape route and evacuation strategies

  • Travel distances and occupancy factors

  • Emergency lighting systems

  • Fire signage

  • Sprinkler systems

  • Smoke control and ventilation systems

  • Fire safety training provision

  • Testing and maintenance schedules

On completion of the Fire Risk Assessment, Alcumus will provide a compliance document which identifies significant risks, those persons at risk and solutions necessary to remove or reduce the risk to an acceptable level and in a designated timescale. Our Fire Risk Assessment Report has been audited by numerous Enforcing Authorities and considered to be of the highest standard and ‘suitable and sufficient’ as detailed in the Fire Safety Order.

dsear

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR)

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations set minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres in the workplace.  DSEAR is the ‘framework’ adopted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to facilitate compliance to ATEX 137 within the UK.

It is the responsibility of the employer to minimise the risks to their employees that can result from potentially explosive atmospheres (i.e. where there is presence of gases, vapours, liquids or dusts).  DSEAR calls upon several requirements to facilitate this:
 

  • Conduct risk assessments of non-electrical equipment already installed on-site

  • Carry out competent risk assessments on any work activities involving dangerous substances

  • Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies

  • Provide instruction and training to employees

  • Classify the site into zones of risk (Area Classification)

  • Use appropriate (certified) equipment in hazardous areas

  • Co-ordinate the site health and safety for all users of the site, including sub-contractors, maintenance crews, security staff etc.

 Our Fire Safety and DSEAR experts have expertise in operation, production or maintenance for blue chip companies in the process industry, and as such are aware of the practical difficulties and constraints of implementing new legislation.  We can therefore offer pragmatic and practical solutions to DSEAR problems.
Alcumus has carried out DSEAR assessments for the following clients:
 

  • Birdseye Foods

  • Shell Oil

  • British Petroleum

  • Cardox International Ltd

We use Consultants with experience in carrying out fire risk and DSEAR surveys in many commercial sectors in complete compliance with the directive. 

emergencyplan

Emergency Plan

The purpose of a Fire Emergency Plan is to provide a training and guidance document ensuring that the people in the premises know the actions to take in the event of a fire and the adopted evacuation strategy.  If an organisation employs five or more persons, or the premises are licensed or an alterations notice is in force, an Emergency Plan must be recorded.

An Emergency Plan is based on the outcome of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and must be made available to all employees, their representatives (where appointed) and the enforcing authority.
In multi-occupied, larger and more complex offices and shops, the Emergency Plan will need to be detailed and compiled only after consultation with other occupiers and other responsible people, e.g. owners, who have control over the building.

An Emergency Plan should be appropriate to individual premises and include:
 

  • The warning if there is a fire

  • The actions to take on discovering a fire

  • The evacuation strategies

  • The identification of key escape routes

  • The arrangements for fighting the fire

  • The identification of key staff and their responsibilities

  • The evacuation strategies of people identified as being especially at risk, such as those with disabilities, lone workers and young persons

  • Any specific arrangements, if necessary, for high-risk areas

  • The contingency plans for when life safety fire systems are inoperable

  • Employees fire safety training need

Alcumus can produce an Emergency Plan to compliment a fire risk assessment or a bespoke plan which assesses and observes applied evacuation protocols in line with the fire engineered solution provided in the premises.

expertwitness

Expert Witness

In many cases legal proceedings may follow a fire or inspection when fire protection measures are alleged not to up to required standard. Our expert fire witnesses can provide a variety of services should a dispute arise in relation to events surrounding a fire or the design of fire safety measures.

Alcumus is able to assess evidence and provide expert opinion in either civil or criminal court. Acting independently or as part of a specialist team, we can assist in determining the origin and cause of a fire.

With many years experience in fire risk management, fire investigation and operations, our experts are recognised as expert fire witnesses able to present evidence and findings in both criminal and civil courts.
In the event of a dispute relating to fire safety, it is often necessary to seek advice from an independent and impartial expert witness.

Alcumus has a successful history of assisting with fire safety expert witness cases and our expert opinion has been called upon by fire authorities and legal professionals for a wide range of fire safety legal cases across the UK, including a number of high-profile cases.


Why appoint Alcumus to act as a fire safety expert witness?

 

  • We’re experts in fire safety engineering and management;

  • Our expert witnesses are highly experienced Fire Engineers with a wide range of technical competencies;

  • We act as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases;

  • We analyse, interpret and explain complex technical evidence;

  • We understand the Civil and Criminal Procedure Rules;

  • Our expert witnesses are fully conversant with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005;

  • We’re experienced in providing testimony in court;

  • We offer independent and impartial expert opinion based on fact.

  • Our fire safety experts provide testimony that is legally defensible, accurate and impartial.

fireevacuation

Fire Evacuation

A Fire Evacuation drill should be carried out at least twice a year at six monthly intervals where possible. 

An evacuation drill forms a key element of your fire safety management strategies as the drill practices the applied emergency procedures and ensures Fire Marshals are fully aware and able to demonstrate their responsibilities in an emergency situation as is required as a key factor to managerial compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The purpose and the objectives of any fire evacuation drill include:
 

  • To identify any weaknesses in the evacuation strategy;

  • To test the procedure following any recent alteration or changes to working practices;

  • To familiarise new occupants with procedures;

  • To test the arrangements for disabled people,

  • To identifying weaknesses in emergency communications procedures and systems;

  • To identifying positive and negative reactions of staff with designated responsibilities such as Fire Marshals.

The evacuation should be for all occupants of the building except those who may need to ensure the security of the premises, or people who, on a risk-assessed basis, are required to remain with particular equipment or processes that cannot be closed down.

Premises that consist of several buildings on the same site should be dealt with one building at a time over an appropriate period unless the emergency procedure dictates otherwise.

Where appropriate, you may find it helpful to include members of the public in your fire drill - ensuring that all necessary health and safety issues are addressed before you do so.

Our Fire Evacuation Drill supervisory service commences with a short training brief with Fire Marshals, our Consultant will then supervise the evacuation and monitor the control of the evacuation assembly point. The Consultant will then debrief the Fire Marshals providing feedback of performance and improvement standards.

gapanalysis

Fire Gap Analysis

In the management of fire safety, gap analysis is the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance. If a company or organization does not make every effort to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 it may be subjected to enforcement action.

Gap analysis identifies gaps between existing fire safety provisions and management strategies against the applied enforcement criteria.

This reveals areas that can be improved. Gap analysis involves determining, documenting, and approving the difference between fire safety provisions and enforcement requirements.

Gap analysis uses the principles of fire safety benchmarking. Once the benchmarking expectation is identified, it is possible to compare that expectation with the company's current level of compliance. This comparison becomes the gap analysis. Such analysis can be performed at the strategic or operational level of an organization.

The organization must fill that gap in order to demonstrate regulatory compliance.

Gap analysis can identify gaps in fire safety compliance, by comparing existing fire safety provisions against applied enforcement criteria reveals the planning gap.

This represents a goal for fire safety activities in general and fire risk management strategies in particular.

fireinvestigation

Fire Investigation

Our aim in every fire investigation we undertake is to ‘reflect the facts without distortion’; using legally recognised methodology to report on all available data following its accurate analysis and, most importantly for our clients, without bias. Our methodology will ensure clients will be correctly informed of where the fire started (the origin) and how the fire started, being the ignition source, the first material ignited and the mechanism that brought the two components together (the cause). Being informed of all the facts relating to a fire or non-terrorist explosion will enable our clients’ subsequent actions, relevant to the case, to be well planned and executed in a timely manner.
 

Alcumus provides a preliminary screening or a fully comprehensive fire investigation report identifying the origin, cause and development of any fire or non-terrorist explosion in almost any country in the world.
 

In most investigations we start by obtaining witness evidence, usually in the form of statements. Consideration of such evidence is the first step in establishing a narrative of events and often important in determining policy liability.
 

Liaison with official agencies is often an important part of fire investigation and Alcumus is well versed in handling losses involving the Police, Fire Service, HSE and other agencies. Some losses involve fire alarms, intruder alarms and CCTV. Our investigators are experienced in obtaining and interpreting data from such systems.
 

At the heart of fire and explosion investigation is the interpretation of patterns of fire damage and a consideration of other physical evidence. Alcumus investigators are highly experienced in both areas and can piece together the varied aspects of physical evidence to uncover the seat or seats of a fire.
 

Witness marks are created during a fire. These marks can often tell us whether locks or bolts were shot home or whether the power to an appliance was on or not at the time of a fire. Additionally, marks alleged to have been left by intruders in breaking into the building can disclose much to the trained expert.
 

Alcumus only uses Fire Investigators who were Fire Service trained at the Fire Service College, have over 10 years fire investigation experience at senior fire officer level and who have attended both Coroner and Crown Court as an Expert Fire Investigation Witness.

firemanagement

Fire Management

Until now there has been no holistic management system available that looks at fire safety across the entirety of an organization. Often fire safety gets confused with management systems such as health and safety, however these are two separate disciplines.

Most of the visible fire precautions in premises are fire protection measures, and it is with these measures that the Building Regulations and Fire Risk Assessments are primarily concerned.  However in modern premises the risk to people (and property) from fire is often governed more by the quality of fire risk management than the level of fire protection. Indeed significant factors in most non-domestic, multiple fatality fires, particularly those involving for example ten deaths or more are failures in fire risk management rather than in the design of premises or fire protection measures. 

Alcumus can help organisations to implement a clear, formally documented system to reduce their fire risk. This can help to safeguard employees, customers and the general public as well as property, and assets. It can also minimise the impact of fire on business continuity.
 
A fully implemented fire risk management system could potentially prevent a fire occurring through planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling the applied risks and minimise the impact of incidents of fire on the business environment should a fire occur.

Our Fire Risk Management System model has been developed by fire safety management professionals so that it can integrate easily with other management systems such as BS OHSAS 18001, Occupational health and safety management systems.

A fire risk management system needs to demonstrate and evidence compliance in nine key elements:
 

  1. Organisational structure and responsibilities relating to fire

  2. Policy, procedure and attitudes

  3. Leadership and support to compliance

  4. The applied operations against enforcement criteria

  5. Risk management and control (Fire Risk Assessment)

  6. Emergency planning

  7. Fire safety planning, resources and control

  8. Training strategies

  9. Performance reviews

firesafetypolicy

Fire Safety Policy

A ‘fit for purpose’ and relevant Fire Safety Policy that evidences fire safety across the entirety of an organisation is key to Regulatory compliance. Often a Fire Safety Policy gets confused with management systems such as health and safety, however these are two separate disciplines.

Most of the visible fire precautions in premises are fire protection measures, and it is with these measures that the Building Regulations and Fire Risk Assessments are primarily concerned.  However in modern premises the risk to people (and property) from fire is often governed more by the quality of fire risk management than the level of fire protection. Indeed significant factors in most non-domestic, multiple fatality fires, particularly those involving for example ten deaths or more are failures in fire risk management rather than in the design of premises or fire protection measures. 

Alcumus can help organisations to implement a clear, formally documented Fire Safety Policy, which can help to safeguard employees, customers and the general public as well as property, and assets. It can also minimise the impact of fire on business continuity.

A fully implemented Fire Safety Policy could potentially prevent a fire occurring through planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling the applied risks and minimise the impact of incidents of fire on the business environment should a fire occur.

Our Fire Safety Policy model has been developed by fire safety management professionals so that it can integrate easily with other management systems and meet the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Part 2 Articles 8 to 23.

A Fire Safety Policy needs to demonstrate and evidence compliance in eight key elements:

 

  1. Organisational structure and responsibilities relating to fire

  2. Employed evacuation strategies

  3. Adopted procedure and attitudes to fire safety

  4. Risk management and control (Fire Risk Assessment)

  5. Emergency planning

  6. Fire safety planning, resources and control

  7. Training strategies – Staff, Fire Marshals and fire extinguishers

  8. Specific and bespoke fire safety provisions

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